By Jay Hammel

Print out your predictions, download the ESPN app, enter a group pool and get out your dancing shoes because it is time for the ‘Big Dance’.

A March Madness secured slot into the tournament is the ultimate goal for men’s D1 basketball programs across the nation and is one of the most exciting times of the year. The road to the Final Four supplies us with the most suspense and hype than any annual athletic competition.

According to Bleacher Report in 2010, March Madness ranks second amongst the top ten sporting events in America.

The Voice of the Hawks Will Conerly and QU student Charlie Bourneuf felt the anxious anticipation and proceeded to produce a ‘Midnight Madness’ podcast where they broke down the tournament one night at North Campus.

Conerly is tuned into the TV during college basketball season and loves the unpredictability during this time of year.

“Each game comes down to the wire and we get to see the best amateur players in the nation battle for one shining moment,” Conerly said.

This years’ 2021 NCAA March Madness tournament will be unlike any other that has been held since 1939. A bubble has been built and all games will be played in Indiana, mostly Indianapolis.

It doesn’t matter how much basketball knowledge you have, there is always that one Cinderella team that busts everybody’s bracket and makes a run. With it being a 64-team tournament, the absurd odds of predicting a perfect bracket comes out to be 9.2 quintillion.

“I usually pick teams that I like watching during the year,” Conerly stated.

But for Bourneuf, more cogitation is involved.

“I try to pick teams I believe in and stick to logic based thinking as much as possible,” Bourneuf said. “I’d rather live with having one of my three seeds miss the Elite 8 than having an 8 seed make it to the Elite 8.”

For QU women’s soccer player Josie Eriksen, it is all for fun.

“I choose my teams based on the school colors and their mascot,” Eriksen said.

It is commonly known for classrooms to be streaming games during the school day and for people to be on their phones checking the scores of each match up.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), 40 million people filled out approximately 70 million brackets in 2018, and waged $9.2 billion on March Madness through office pools, Nevada sports books, offshore sites and bookmakers.

“Everyone usually has a tie to the tournament,” Conerly said. “School, family, friends, and championships are so excited because of the surviving and advancing nature of March like no other sport has.”

Literally anyone can win their bracket regardless of their sports knowledge.

“It’s beautiful chaos that almost every American loves,” Bourneuf said.

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